Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022

Hamilton suggested retiring because he thought points finish was “impossible”

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton suggested his Mercedes team retire him from the Spanish Grand Prix because he thought he had no chance of finishing in the points after suffering a puncture on the first lap.

He tangled with Kevin Magnussen at turn four on the first lap of the race and fell around half a minute behind the pack. Having started 15th in Jeddah earlier this year and only made it as far as 10th, Hamilton doubted he would be able to score any points.

But despite the Safety Car not being deployed during the race, Hamilton recovered as high as fifth before he had to slow down due to a water leak and fell behind Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“Obviously I was hoping for a smoother race without the issue at the beginning,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I was 30 seconds, at one stage, behind last.

“Having seen where I was, if you think back in Jeddah where I started 15th and I struggled to get into the top 10 I was thinking it was going to be impossible to get back into the points positions.”

Hamilton even suggested to his team they retire his car to reduce the wear on its power unit.

“I was 30 seconds behind so I’m like, if I’m going to use the whole engine to drive around in last or out of the top 15 and at some point we might have to take a penalty or something like that,” he explained.

“I don’t know if reliability is an issue, we’ve already seen today at the end there was something. But I was like, we might as well just save the engine so we live to fight another day.

“But I’m glad we didn’t and it just shows that you never stop and never give up and that’s what I did.”

Despite his problem at the end of the race, Hamilton finished higher than Mercedes predicted after lap one.

“The team said no, you’re on for eighth. I couldn’t understand it at the beginning and I thought that they were being super-optimistic.

“But I was like okay, I’ll give it everything and see where I come out. It turns out it was higher than eighth. It was just a little bit unfortunate at the end with the engine but I’m just glad we finished.”

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2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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34 comments on “Hamilton suggested retiring because he thought points finish was “impossible””

  1. Well that was one hell of a drive still.

    You know we fans are quick to judge a moaning driver on the radio, but these drivers seriously know how to flick the switch and perform (atleast Lewis does).

    1. He wasn’t moaning, he was proposing a strategy. Of course he knew the team had more information, so he let them decide.

      1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        22nd May 2022, 23:45

        @zann, I agree. Unfortunately when Hamilton is involved people go out of their way to ignore context to have a dig at him. The problem is when you have the voice of F1(Mr. Brundle) instigating this type of behaviour from the broadcast both we can’t correct it. Hamilton is always thinking the long game. Even with the DNF scare at the end these people will continue with their crusade. These people seem to think Sky is somehow pro Hamilton. This race had Brundle and Paul di Resta but that wasn’t enough for them.

  2. Wrong mentality in my opinion, gets discouraged quickly. He has done this before https://www.racefans.net/2019/07/29/retire-the-car-hamilton-wanted-to-quit-before-taking-ninth/

    1. Isn’t it amazing how a few snippets of team radio make people expert psychologists? What happened to judging people by what matters – performance & results?

    2. Spa 2014 too. But he did what the team told him to and did his best every time, so, details.

    3. He’s been this way his whole career. Jenson Button has often pointed out how he wears his heart in this sleeve but is still mentally very tough and always comes back from disappointment. He used to be even more dramatic. His 2010-12 years were straight masterpiece theater.

      1. I know, its just that he speaks about never giving up, come back hard, being and example to kids and then show this side on something not even that bad of a incident in a 3rd fastest car which he knew he had in his hand even before the race started. Its not a big deal but it doesnt look good does it.

    4. Still the GOAT tho!

  3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    22nd May 2022, 17:55

    Tyres and strategy played a part but to get one over Carlos and at a pretty fast rate is encouraging.

  4. Bono was right ultimately.

  5. Another embarasssing display by Sir Lewis “If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year” Hamilton. He virtue signalled “never give up” mentality so many times, but the moment he’s put in situation like that himself, he wants to give up immediately LOL. Just from my memory – Germany 2009, Germany 2012, Germany 2019 (I see a pattern there, hmm…) and now Spain 2022. Yet in a race without any outside help from a Safety Car, he’d have finished 4th if not for an engine problem, lagging 30 seconds behind the field on lap 2. That’s why people don’t like him, because he’s two-faced and fake person. “That’s for all the kids out there who dream the impossible. You can do it too man!” – unless that kid is called Sir Lewis Hamilton LOL. He literally can’t think on his own, so pit wall has to decide for him, which was proven time and time again (this year in Saudi Arabia, Imola and now Barcelona).

    1. Still a 7 time world champion mate….lol

    2. Its obvious at least you dont like him. Prefer moaning VER, using f-words like today with his DRS troubles.

      1. @romtrain Max wasn’t moaning he was complaining about a 50 pound thingie what wasn’t working.

        @armchairexpert Yes i was suprised hearing Lewis to give up already his engineer had to bring him over that point.

    3. @armchairexpert Strange, he didn’t seem to be embarrassed in the interviews, and neither did TW.
      And given how easy it is to consider the long term implications, with no detailed telemetry data available, while driving an F1 car fast enough to pass most of the field, I have no idea why you think the pit wall wouldn’t be in a better position to make the call.

    4. Few people have ever chosen a more apt username. The only thing missing is the prefix “Useless”.

    5. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
      22nd May 2022, 23:48

      @armchairexpert, nothing new. Keep grinding that axe. It’s amazing how you guys hang on to everyword he utters. Just always minning for something to take a dig at I guess. Word of advice, find a driver or team to cheer for. Otherwise you’ll find F1 very boring once he retires. Hate watching is real so don’t even try to deny that’s not what you’re doing.

    6. Great post, Armchair Expert.
      If everybody was as spoiled as LM, the Haas, Aston Martin, Williams, Alpha Tauri etc. should be quitting every single race!

  6. I don’t want to call him a quitter but it’s not something I thought I would hear from a 7 time World champ. That was poor. Can’t and shouldn’t have such a mindset…

    1. I am a hamilton fan and him suggesting retirement so early in the race with all his experience and knowing so many things can change your fortunes in a race in an instant….that was very very poor and disappointing along with surprising. I know he is only human and his run of bad luck this season coming from the heartbreak at end of last season is no easy feet mentally but at least run the car for 20 laps and see where you are at. At least gather some data for the team and some experience with the track at race pace to see where things can improve in the car for you and the team. This was not the Hamilton we expected and i think his lowest point this season. That being said..that drive back to 4th from the back was mega and IS the Hamilton we know. Car has potential. Let’s hope its not track specific. Snap out of it Lewis.

      1. You have to be kidding me!

        He asked a perfectly reasonable strategic question early in the race given there are three engines this year and he has lost championships to reliability.

        Was given the answer and went from back to the front. Yet still it’s wrong and he needs to snap out of it!

        At least he has never asked his team mate to be moved out of the way during a justifiable team mate fight just so he can win when the main competitor has dnf and he fell off the track hence is behind. Oh and was given the better strategy to get there – functional drs or not.

        You know, like in race 5 of a 22 race season!

        Jeez the ridiculously biased commentary on this site is making me tired of being here.

        And I pay to be here!

        1. Well, you aren’t forced to pay and no one promised you comment filtering if you do!

          1. Unusually insightful comment from you.

            Highly technical and complex analysis.

            Impressed 🤪

  7. With a spending cap and component limits, Lewis’ question was unfortunately something I’d imagine front running teams will be asking anytime they’re shuffled to the back of the field. Especially if a new pu is in the car. Is it better to put a full race on a pu and collect no points, or retire the car and save the components and costs for another day?

    1. @bassclef Exactly. The championships take a whole season to play out. The old saying “You can’t win the race on the first corner, but you can lose it” also applies to championships and races. There seems to be a lot of short term thinkers here.

    2. +10000

      Honestly they just can’t resist the ‘I am a Hamilton fan but…’ can they?

    3. Uhm, last year Max raced in Hungary with half his barge board missing, car taped all over. He finished 9th, thats what top drivers are paid for, to race and bring the car home.

  8. After Merc’s display so far this season, everyone except the pitwall thought what Hamilton said. The raced showed that there is a great deal of potential with the car now and I think this race brought some hope to the Hamilton’s side of the garage as well as some good points.

  9. Looks like LH has become this entitled kid who will not play unless he wins..


  10. The article on Verstappen’s snot bubbles about his drs is coming right up I’m sure.

  11. I agree I didn’t like the initial thought, but also true the jeddah comeback was pretty slow, not helped by the missed VSC ofc, and if you think you’re not gonna score points makes sense to consider saving the PU with the low yearly limit, at least makes sense to check the situation for a few laps though. Initially it didn’t seem to be a good recovery with the soft tyres, but then the other stints went much better and this was a great performance eventually, shame for the issue towards the end.

  12. “If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year”
    Lewis totally proving it on Sunday. What a drive, wow. Can you imagine what he could have done without that puncture and with the only one on the mediums during the start? Damn! I feel he would have won the race with that pace. I think this year is going to be more than just winning for Lewis. This year I feel will all be about showing what he is made off and why he is a 7/8 time world champion. His Resilience, work ethic and determination to fight with these young fast drivers is just beautiful and so inspiring to see. Time and time again he just proves his amazing quality of bouncing back strongly, something I’ve just not seen in anybody else yet. I don’t know if he will but I certainly hope he wins the 8th one before he goes. Its going to be an interesting fight from here on. Game-on bitches!

  13. Dick Dawson
    23rd May 2022, 15:41

    After hearing this primadonna cry as he wouldn’t be in for points I have had it with him. Retire man, it’s called racing not winning. WOW

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